When I was in college, I had a group of friends I hung out with a lot. We ate out, goofed off, went to movies, and probably did some things and shared stories that we’re not proud of. One of guys we hung out with was given a preacher’s position at a local church. He was suddenly “Pastor.”

Pastor? We hung out with this guy! We knew how he acted! He’s one of us! Now he’s supposed to be ahead of us? We supported him but we never called him “pastor,” because he wasn’t OUR pastor. That was just a job title. Surely, he couldn’t have any wisdom for us, his friends and peers.

Many years later, I know how wrong that was. Did we give him that title? No.  But the church did. That means he was chosen and called by God at that appointed time to do that appointed job.

Recently, I’ve heard a lot of stories from people about this same thing. Things like:

• They have wronged me. They are not leadership over my life, so I have no respect for them.

• I don’t like the way they’re doing or handling things over there. So, I’ll tell everyone what’s wrong with that person/group and why I disagree.

• I heard so-and-so did this, so I’ll post a rant on my social media page, complete with the list of things I’ve heard they’ve done, whether true or not.

• I saw a person of leadership out at a bar (or something along those lines), so I’m going to go over their head and tell on them. They’re obviously not ready to be in this leadership position.

We often attack others because we disagree with them or because that person has made multiple mistakes. We, as Christians, have a very bad habit of complaining about our church & city leadership. I constantly see & hear negative remarks about world leaders like President Barak Obama, church leadership like Joel Osteen, and especially our local church and city leadership. 

In 1 Samuel, David, who had been anointed by the Lord as king, was running from Saul, who was presently king, because he wanted to kill David. Twice, David had the opportunity to kill Saul and spared his life. In chapter 26, Saul & his men were asleep. David and his men went into the camp David took Saul’s spear and water jug. Abishai asked David to let him kill Saul. Here is David’s response.

9 But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” 

And later, when King Saul died, the man who killed him was himself killed.

I think we all need to be like David. Who are we to stretch out a hand against the Lord’s anointed? Because, let me tell you, God has that person there for a reason, whether you like it or not. And, His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:9).

What would happen if instead of striking those people down, we lifted them up and prayed for them? We don’t have to agree with them. We don’t have to trust them. We don’t even have to like them. But, we need to respect them. We need to pray for them and not complain to everyone who will listen and not say or write awful things about them. Don’t let anyone take on your offense against someone else.

I can guarantee you, if I were to see my old friend from college again, I would call him Pastor because God gave him that title. Who am I to take that away from him? Who am I to stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed?

- Whitney